Blueprint for Change an essay divided in 7 chapters, by our contributor Carlos Cuellar Brown. In the several chapters, such as “Change,” “Energy,” “Self-reliance,” or Food autonomy,” Cuellar explains and under builds his vision of how we can create a wiser, healthier and wholesome future.
Weekly, we will post 2 chapters, read 7th and last one below!
Community Politics / Interactive Democracy
A new egalitarian ethos has to center modern politics around community and regional radiuses. The neighborhood scale of the new economy will need a neighbor based political system profoundly involved in the reshaping of local forces in control of their own self-determination. At this scale communities will re-discover the participatory democratic subsets that keep personal interest in check and people power in control. Eliminating arbitrary abuse of power and government over others is critical in the development of a new egalitarian ethos. Perhaps we could learn from the early collector-societies of the hunter-gathers who practiced “reverse dominance” to keep power in check. “Reverse dominance” prevented anyone from assuming power over others, in these systems “the many acted in unison to deflate the ego, and ridicule anyone who tried to dominate. In these egalitarian societies consensual decision making was a core value that extended equity shared among themselves (Gray, 2009).
Consensual decision making is manageable at the scale of local government. At this scale collaborative decision processes are likely to be efficient, effective and transparent. Made up of neighbors with community accountability, this system will have much more bearing and power on their own livelihood than the Federal Government or any other form of central government or power monopoly. Jefferson would argue that “there is no safer depository of the ultimate powers of society than the people themselves” (Jefferson, T., Lipscomb, A. A., & Bergh, A. E, (1903). In today’s representative democracy, cronyism and selection by appointment dominate politics and the voting system has become a sort of monarchial electorate system instrumented from super wealthy groups to appoint groomed and malleable candidates to office to represent their special interest. The power grabbing that occurs in the revolving doors of big corpo-government have no regard for what is good for community or what is good for the environment.
We must fan the flame of liberty and democracy getting reacquainted with the spirit of participation, where public life comes back to the people and we engage in a new interactive democratic membership that is direct and transparent. This new rationale will shrink government back to regional jurisdictions where they will breakup and decentralize into smaller self-regulating constituents. Governmental decisions will use smart online collaborative systems, community meet ups and crowd solving technologies that interpret results of wide online survey (“What is Crowdsolving,” 2015).
An example of this kind of system is the open source software online project LiquidFeedback which is being used by several parties in Germany (“LiquidFeedback,” 2015). The online interactive democratic process can include the legislative body as they incorporate artificial intelligence and cloud management platforms to administrate complex systems. These programs facilitate law making, maximizing network participation and decision making around community issues, and local interest lines. In this online open environment, deliberation and debate contributes directly to the development of solutions (Boik, 2104). In this interactive democracy, questions and differences are not settled by vote but by participation and debate, through collective moderation and many rounds of editing.
In these systems voting is left for last option arbitration of irresolvable differences. It can also be used to measure consensus like the label ratings of environmentally friendly products. Imagine the democratization of online consumer product review scanned for company ratings and fare-trade healthy economic practices and non GMO’s. Imagine the power of the consumer if we can collectively come together to boycott destructive economic practices and toxic products from our tables and homes. In these interactive democracies buyers and sellers can be measured on a scale of direct transparency. In this economic activity reputation becomes a new online currency. This kind of currency is already being used in places like eBay and B2C’s.
Unlike the static monolithic bureaucratic states of nationhood, collaborative government systems are a cross-polinization of opportunities whose time is ripe and waiting to happen, they must be
transparent to be effective and built out of mutual consent. They must promote mediation of conflict and arbitration in an evolving system where change is always a constant.
This short list simply recognizes and introduces the reader to some of the primary tools and components needed for structural social change.